Express & Star

Travellers banned from Dudley after tour of borough beauty spots

A group of travellers has been banned from Dudley after a game of cat-and-mouse around beauty spots in the borough.

Travellers set up on Priory Park last month

Up to five caravans led council chiefs a merry dance for more than a week after pulling up near the tennis courts on Priory Park on May 21.

They were moved on by Dudley Council officers, only to set up another unauthorised encampment a few hundred yards away on the green space between Gervase Drive and Paganel Drive.

The group then moved on again – this time to the car park at Dudley Castle, before another stand-off saw them pile into Buffery Park.

They have since been issued with a court order, which means they can be arrested if they return to set up camp at unauthorised areas in the town.

The council has a transit site for travellers in Budden Road, Coseley

Dudley North MP Marco Longhi said: "We had travellers go and park themselves on Priory Park. When we removed them from there they then went to the car park at Dudley Castle, and after the police and council got onto them, and they then went to Buffery Park.

"With the help of the council, we've now been able to issue them with a court order which if they come back anywhere in Dudley on our green spaces, they will be arrested."

Dudley Council leader Patrick Harley said the council would stick rigidly to its "zero tolerance" policy on unauthorised traveller camps, and urged groups to use the transit site in Budden Road, Coseley.

He said: "We have nothing against travellers and we appreciate they have a right to live their lives the way they want to.

"But as a local authority we have a zero tolerance policy towards unauthorised encampments. We invested a lot into building a transit site where travellers are welcome to use for a specific amount of time by paying a deposit, and if they behave they get their deposit back.

"Most of the traveller community have lapped that up and we have regular visits from the same groups. We don't hear a peep out of most of them, which is as it should be."